The Locust Creek Covered Bridge built in the 1800s is the longest of the four covered bridges left in Missouri

CJ Coombs
Locust Creek Covered Bridge in Linn County, Missouri.Milanite, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1970, the Locust Creek Covered Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The state historic site is located in Linn County, Missouri, and is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. This bridge has also been referred to as the Linn County Bridge and it's located about three miles east of Meadville, Missouri, and three miles west of Laclede.

There are four remaining covered bridges in Missouri and this is the longest bridge. One of the other bridges is the Burfordville Covered Bridge which is the oldest covered bridge near Jackson, Missouri.

Brief history

In August 1868, the Linn County Commissioners contracted to have a bridge constructed across Locust Creek.

The structure of the bridge is known as a Howe-truss that was built out of white pine. The Howe truss is named after the architect, William Howe, who designed this type of bridge. He also patented the design in 1840.
Elements of a Howe truss bridge.Tim1965, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

With the Howe-Truss system, vertical iron rods secure the diagonal wooden beams to the bottom and top. Three of the covered bridges in Missouri use this system.

The Howe truss was employed or used more than any other bridge type because it was economical, simple to construct and durable. (Source.)

This 151-foot-long bridge has been a part of history for a very long time. When it first opened, it was used for horses, wagons, and pedestrians. In the early 1900s, automobiles could use it as part of Missouri Route 8. When U.S. Route 36 was completed in 1930, it was bypassed.

This covered bridge ran parallel to the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. Interestingly, the course of the creek changed after World War II and the creek bed became dry. As the bed filled with silt, the bridge was on mud most of the time.

In 1968, the bridge was acquired by the state of Missouri which established the bridge's historic site. The state repaired the bridge by replacing parts like the flooring and roof. In 1991, the bridge was raised by six feet by the Missouri Department of Conservation. This was an important measure to help preserve the wooden frame and flooring.

There were so many covered bridges built in the United States chiefly during the 1800s. However, age, floods, fire, and vandalism destroyed most of them.

Supposedly, the covered bridges were made to have a barn-like appearance so that horses wouldn't get anxious crossing the beds of running water.

Other than the Burfordville Covered Bridge mentioned above that's located in Cape Girardeau County, the other two surviving covered bridges in Missouri are the Union Covered Bridge in Monroe County and the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in Jefferson County.

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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